Edward Miall

1809-1881. Congregationalist minister. The acknowledged leader of the movement in the nineteenth century to disestablish the Church of England, Miall for this reason left a pastorate in Leicester in 1840 to found and edit a newspaper, The Nonconformist. In 1844 he arranged for a large conference of Nonconformists in London at which was organized the British Anti-State-Church Association (later renamed the Society for the Liberation of Religion from State Patronage and Control). Under Miall's leadership the Liberation Society, as it was popularly called, became a highly organized and vigorous extra-parliamentary pressure group. He also espoused a number of radical causes which he considered to be related to the disestablishment issue-universal suffrage, the ballot, repeal of the Corn Laws, and programs for improving the living conditions of the working classes. He frequently contested parliamentary elections and had two terms in Parliament-as member for Rochdale (1852-57) and for Bradford (1869-74). The climax in his career came when in 1871, greatly disturbed by what he considered to be the too favorable treatment of the Church of England in the Education Act of 1870, he moved, although unsuccessfully, for a committee on church disestablishment. Because of poor health he retired from Parliament in 1874 and shortly afterward from public life.